PM hopes Molwyn Joseph will reconsider Tesla

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Prime Minister Gaston Browne is disappointed that Health and Environment Minister Molwyn Joseph has changed his mind in being part of a climate change programme testing electric vehicles in Antigua and Barbuda and wants him to reconsider his decision.

The country, which is a signatory to the Paris Agreement, has agreed to use clean technology to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the transportation sector. As a result, the Environment Ministry sought funding for electric and hybrid vehicles for a feasibility study to be presented to the Cabinet and for a project proposal to the Green Climate Fund and the Global Environment Facility.

After news broke that a Tesla Model X, electric vehicle, came into the country for use by the minister, there was an outcry in several quarters, including the opposition.

The United Progressive Party (UPP) felt purchasing the vehicle, which costs about US $100,000, was ‘heartless’ given the current economic crisis facing the twin-island state. After the controversy over the vehicle, Joseph decided that he was no longer interested in being a part of the programme.

However, Prime Minister Browne said Minister Joseph is not in need of a luxury SUV since he owns several vehicles.

He said Joseph using the vehicle was a means to get others to emulate him, and eventually turn in their gas guzzling vehicles for energy efficient ones.

“My understanding is it is part of a project to promote the use of green energy vehicles/ electric vehicles as we seek to reduce our carbon footprint. Now, I know that the minister does not need a vehicle, it’s not no vanity of the minister in which he is trying to get an expensive vehicle, he has many vehicles, he is the owner of many private vehicles. All that has happened is the ministry officials they encourage him to use one of those vehicles so he can be a sponsor of the programme and to get other people to emulate him.

“Unfortunately the minister has gotten a bit of cold feet and has decided he does not want it…in truth he does not need it, but it would be good for him to have it…to be one of the sponsors of the programme and I just hope he would reconsider his position,” Browne said.

The prime minister said the government is serious about climate change and has to make sure that the country meets its commitments based on the climate accord.

PM Browne emphasised the fact that the vehicle did not cost the government any money, but was obtained through a grant.

“We have certain obligations to meet and not only are we transitioning to green energy to power Antigua and Barbuda, as you know we did this 10 mega watts solar power initiative and we are also doing something similar in Barbuda as well. What we are seeking to do now as well is the transitioning to electric vehicles in order to reduce our carbon foot print.

“My understanding is the Ministry of Environment has gotten certain grant facilities which they have utilised to acquire some electric vehicles as we seek to start that transition. And I am told they had earmarked one of the vehicles for the minister of health and the environment because they wanted him to lead by example as one of the sponsors of the programme. If you give it to a low profile person it does not help, I mean he is the highest profile person within the ministry (of health),” Browne added.

According to the prime minister, some people put a political spin on everything, and added, “I can understand why he did not want to touch it because of the cheap politics that has been played by the opposition.”

The Ministry of Environment also plans on purchasing a small Nissan Leaf, a Nissan van, an open back “lorry” and one Toyota Rav 4 Hybrid.

 

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14 COMMENTS

  1. Well well poor antigua everthing is a grant PM BROWNE can u stop lie we as tax payer we want better road better water system and low the cost for gas and stop spend out taxpayer money bad cant u see PM brown. how thing are hard in antigua i guest u wont see because all of u goverment.minnister. dont pay for food gas car.water telephone nothing u all pay for so u all cant feel how thing is hard we pay for all u

  2. That’s how u spend grant funds extravagantly? These funds are collected from tax payers in other countries. I would hate for my hard earned tax dollars to b squandered by some banana republic government like that. Especially when the leader is going to be so flippant about it! Its grant money so u can waste it! When leaders talk so foolish don’t be surprised when grant funds dry up.

  3. Some pple in anu cant even afford to purchase groceries with their salary is a $100000 us vehicle? Who feels it knows it.

  4. But why a Tesla? Aren’t there other such vehicles we can test or is it specific to Tesla? If there are cheaper options then it makes you wonder.

    • Why Tesla? Because the Tesla guy owns the largest battery company, and also does Solar Panels…….

      • Tesla power plant would have been a great study. Maybe govt can free up the energy market so we can all own Tesla solar. Affordably.

  5. Do Like We Did In The 1960’s! AG2(Walk)! Or Ride Pan Donkey Backs! Antigua Is Too Small For So Much Cars!🌴🏇😀

  6. So if a country wants to help another country to be energy efficient or whatever you may call it why did we have to purchase it. Why wasn’t it donated as an example of what they wish us to use.. Smh they take us for fools… Smh.. Stop making excuses…

  7. I agree with the PM. How do you have a man like Hon. Molwyn Joseph preach about eliminating carcinogens from our atmosphere by eliminating plastic bags & styrofoam, yet be seen driving around a gas guzzler all the while leaving a huge carbon footprint on our environment. It goes against everything he preaches.
    If he doesn’t want it, GIVE IT TO ME.

  8. Maybe in the end he will be known as the greatest leader, who knows. For now this man has made all the wrong moves with the arrogance to make things seem right. Calls himself a business man with not one successful business under his belt to date. From car dealership to a money laundering bank to the bailout of a bank he obviously has interest in. All his efforts to stimulate the economy seems to be set in selling passports! Now how many passports can we actually sell? Where are the new jobs for the local people that actually simulate the economy? The jobs for the people that will pay taxes and social security and really keep the economy afloat! He may talk the good talk but everything he touches failed. So with that record what do you think the outcome for Antigua will be? In any other country he will be would be a walk talking conflict of interest. Here the sad part because UPP is so weak and not ready to lead this man will be allowed to dig Antigua into at state of bare survival. Antigua needs some of its brilliant young people to step up..

  9. SO you want electric cars,you do know were the power comes from?
    if so be prepared to spend big $ to bring your power supply up to modern spec.

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